I have never been a big fan of The Message paraphrase of The Bible but every once in a while, my curiosity is piqued as to how the author of The Message might have translated a particularly challenging scripture passage. So, I’ll look to the right and to the left to make sure nobody is watching, and then I’ll check it.
I came across one of those challenging scripture passages this morning as I was reading the Gospel of Luke. Now generally, I am disappointed in the translation I find in The Message, but this morning it actually turned out to be really helpful.
This particular passage was the reply that Jesus gave to a bystander who asked, “Master, will only a few be saved?” And, according to the The Message paraphrase, Jesus said,
“Whether few or many is none of your business. Put your mind on your life with God. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires your total attention. A lot of you are going to assume that you’ll sit down to God’s salvation banquet just because you’ve been hanging around the neighborhood all your lives. Well, one day you’re going to be banging on the door, wanting to get in, but you’ll find the door locked and the Master saying, ‘Sorry, you’re not on my guest list.’
“You’ll protest, ‘But we’ve known you all our lives!’ only to be interrupted with his abrupt, ‘Your kind of knowing can hardly be called knowing. You don’t know the first thing about me.’ (Luke 13:24-27 Msg)
There is a way to know Jesus that will send you to Hell!
I spent the majority of my life like that. I considered myself a Christian. I knew who Jesus was, I knew that He died on a cross, and that He saved us from our sins. I didn’t know anything about Him, though. To me, He was just another one of the guys, like Moses, and Joseph, and Peter, etc. I had no idea why He had to die. Like He said, I didn’t know the first thing about Him.
To know Him in a way that saves is to know that He is Lord God and that He died the death that you deserved to die so that you don’t have to, so that you can live. And He did it all because He loved you. To know Him is to spend time with Him, listening to Him as He speaks to you through His Word. As you get to know Him you begin to want to do what He says to do because you trust Him to know what’s best. To know Him is to have conversation with Him all day long, throughout your day. To know Him is to be as close to Him as your closest friend. The really great thing is that once you get to know Him in that way, you’ll want to know Him more and more. And, your life will never be the same again!